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Gattaca is not so much science fiction as human drama and prejudice in
a science fiction setting.
I had never heard of Gattaca until it was recommended to me by NetFlix. Gattaca is a great movie. Apparently it was not a box office success, but I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes drama and speculative fiction. Some other comments compare it to Blade Runner or 1984. Gattaca is thought provoking and stimulating without being over-blown with special effects and the idea that mankind is doomed to destroy itself.
I like the soundtrack; it is not a collection of pop songs or attempted futuristic designer songs, it just fits.
I won't recommend, as some comments do, to watch the movie several times to pick out gaffes. Just watch it once and enjoy it.
In the not too distant future, genetic engineering is the most common form
of childbirth. Those born naturally in an uncontrolled fashion form a social
underclass. One of the underclass Vincent, dreams of working within Gattaca
and making it into space. He combines with Jerome who was disabled in an
accident to take his identity and live his live. Vincent takes his idenity
and daily eradicates all proof of his own genetic makeup. However a murder
within Gattaca reveals the presence of an invalid and the police begin their
search for Vincent.
This is a very intelligent look into the future where racism etc has been replaced by a bias formed around one's genetic makeup. This builds a two-tier story around Vincent trying to pass off as a valid and around the murder investigation of the space programme's director. However to say that this story is just that is to ignore the layers of humanity that are looked at in the film. The real Jerome shows how elitist the valids are and how they look down on those below, but he also shows how they are only human and have the same feelings, fears etc. Vincent is the character we associate with - being excluded from society because of his genes, he is the vision of persistence that we all want to be. We see his father design a second son with his own name and the background he experiences. We also signs of humanity all round and it is as much a look at present day racism etc as it is a futuristic sci-fi. The story around the murder investigation concludes with several twists that tie the two strands together - this takes the story of Vincent to another level and it is quite moving to watch.
Ethan Hawk is really good here, as is Jude Law. I found Uma Thurman a bit cold to watch and she was without much character but I assume that this was how she was meant to be . Alan Arkin is excellent as the (I assume) natural born detective who has to call a much younger man Sir because of his genes. The supporting cast is well filled out with strong actors including Elias Koteas, Gore Vidal, Ernest Bourgine and, er, Blair Underwood.
Overall a moving intelligent sci-fi that is clever throughout. How many modern films can you say that about?
This is so great on so many levels. The acting was perfect. The plot
was so unbelievably awesome. The direction was great (im surprised
Andrew Niccol hasn't done more films) The film on the whole was
excellent. It is definitely up there with my favourites. All i can say
is that you must watch this film. My friend told me to watch it, i
wasn't really bothered but when i did i was pleasantly surprised.
I am honestly shocked that i had never heard of this film before my friend told me about it, i thought it would of had as much publicity as one of the same genre, as minority report, but unfortunately it didn't.
A outstanding film, which is hard to believe its not in the top 250.
This film is a refreshing drama with incredible performances by Ethan Hawke, Jude Law, and Uma Thurman. While this film did not receive much acclaim and hardly anyone has seen it, it is the best couple of hours you will ever spend watching a movie. I could watch the movie again and again - and I do. In this movie a new underclass if "invalids" is created in the not too distant future when genetic engineering becomes the preferred form of procreation. Vincent Freeman stops at nothing to accomplish his dreams. A story of how dedication and perseverance can overcome the impossible. This movie is true testament to the human spirit. Never save anything for the swim back!
'Gattaca', the 1997 sci-fi film, has definitely done its part in adding
to the culture of cult films around the world. Whether it's the
disturbingly familiar future-society that the film depicts, the ethical
and moral nightmare scenarios that it entails, or something
subliminally appealing, this piece of film found its audience and
cemented its place in history.
In the 'not-too-distant future', the world of genetics has expanded to previously unimaginable proportions, wherein a person's entire life story can be told with just a drop of blood or a strand of hair. In this post-genetics world, science has perfected the art of life; children are no longer born biologically, but rather their parents give their sperm and eggs to laboratories and they deliver the best child that can be produced from these genes. Children who were not conceived this way are referred to as "in-valids" and society deems them accordingly. It's a whole new type of discrimination, but one that Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke) is not willing to accept.
Vincent is an in-valid who has always had the dream of going into space. Refusing to accept his pre-determined life, Vincent consequently adopts the identity of another man whose genes make him 'valid'. Jerome Morrow (Jude Law) agrees to let Vincent have his identity if he will provide Jerome with a place to live. Using samples from Jerome's body disguised as his own (blood, urine, hair), Vincent becomes employed in the Gattaca Aerospace Corporation as Jerome Morrow and after many years in the job, he is finally given the opportunity to go up into space on one of Gattaca's frequent launches.
When the director of the Gattaca Aerospace Corporation is murdered, however, investigations into the crime put into question Vincent's true identity, and he soon finds that his long deception could be unraveled and his life-long dream could be shot down in flames. With only fellow colleague Irene (Uma Thurman) and Jerome on his side, Vincent must race against the powers that are trying to put him back into the social hole he was supposedly born into and put an end to the life he has worked so hard to build.
The film has a very sorrowful approach to what sounds initially like a very lame plot. It's cinematic and stylistic without being pretentious or overdone, and the way it is shot and put together reflects very well the film's bland and sterilized society in pursuit of perfection. The chilling sense of realism that goes with the world of Gattaca makes everything within it become more than just a strange concept in a science fiction film. Not unlike Spielberg's 'A.I.', Gattaca very cleverly draws from horrors within our society today to suggest the terrifying prospect that our science will eventually render us, as a natural species, obsolete.
Director Andrew Niccol has done a fine job in transforming this sci-fi flick into something much deeper and more interesting. The writing is not spectacular, but is still better than most. Hawke's narration provides very good atmosphere for the film as he talks about the way of the world in this eerie future and the film's theme is very secure, with events such as the murder being practically irrelevant. The thing that matters most is Vincent's dream and the social inequalities that prevent him from actualizing it, and this is made very clear from beginning to end.
The acting performances are all very adequate, but the stand-out ones are Ethan Hawke and Jude Law, who seem so comfortable in their characters and, truth be told, share more chemistry than Hawke and Thurman do. This was one of Jude Law's first feature films, and it is a remarkably impressive debut.
Basically, this is a film that says what it means. Even in a world that has successfully bred perfection, people still suffer, the system is still unjust and lives still go to waste. Far from just being an unrealistic portrayal of what the future will hold, 'Gattaca' questions the ideals of mankind, the principles of civilization and leaves us to wonder what we, as a society are truly striving for.
It is unfortunate that Gattaca did not do so well at the box office back
1997. But is has become sort of a cult film as people begin to rediscover
it on video and DVD. I think it may have something to do with the recent
innovations in genetic engineering and the success of the three main
The first half of the film is quite intense and suspenseful as well as provides a canvas for many ideas on the theme of identity, class society and elitism, fate and destiny and control. Ethan Hawke does a great job as the fraudulent Vincent, and Jude Law is entertaing as the borrowed ladder.
Watch this film when you really feel like thinking after the movie, as the movie has little action.
I think this flick will become a sci fi classic in the years to come and dumb overblown sci fi wannabes such as armageddon and mission to mars will have been forgotten.
An interesting concept, with terrific set design, and some headliner talent. Overall the plot dragged, and in a way, once you got the idea, it started to flatline, as if the variables of what might happen were limited. In fact, some of the outcomes were almost laughable because they were trying so hard to pull some heartstrings and wrap the thing up in a story-telling way. The parallels of the lift-off and the incineration, so calmly done, and the second swimming contest at night are both ludicrous if only because they are so heavy-handed.
Not that there aren't interesting aspects all along. It's not a boring movie, just stretched thin. It lacks atmosphere the way Solaris (2002) or 2001 (1968) have atmosphere, but it is paced in the same deliberate way (almost). Not that it intends such weighty philosophical poetry. No, Gattaca is a sort of reach for the stars movie, out to remind us that humans are the best, flaws are part of perfection, and romance only goes so far.
Ethan Hawkes is fine in this, and so is Uma Thurman, but since everyone is supposed to be a bit machine-like, we can't expect highly emotional performances, even when they are making love (not shown). Alan Arkin certainly gets the post-modern detective award, wearing a long coat and bowler inside at all times, as all detectives should, and he's clever but not quite clever enough to solve the crime. Other minor characters, including Jude Law, do their best to fill int he chinks of a very calculated effect.
In a way, this made me think of the Law/Paltrow extravaganza, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow(2004), not for any visual similarity, but just for the sense of an artificial future and an awkward love affair in the midst of it, and if neither movie is great exactly, both are really interesting and fun. But Gattaca, by comparison, is so intent on dulling the comic book aspects that are a little bit at play, in favor of the sterile future that may or may not ever happen, it chills the whole experience. We can't quite take it all serious (there will never be a number to our heartbeats before we die, nor a way to know when that number would be counted), so why not push it into something more fanciful, surreal, fun, or just futuristic. Never mind reality.
All that said, sci-fi fans should love this overall, if the idea is what counts most. DNA manipulation, and screening our progeny before birth, is presented as a weirdly normal activity, a little cold, for sure, but nothing immoral. The idea of just having sex and being in love and letting it all fly, take what the roll of the dice gives you, is presented as a model of the perfect life (which is what most of us do, of course)...until the end, when it slips a little back into boyhood dreams come true for those who persist and cheat and are really really pretty and selfish. Which not all of us are at all.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie does a number of ingenious and remarkable things : 1. It
makes the extraordinary ( space exploration ) seem completely routine
in a way not accomplished since 2001 A Space Odyssey. But in total
contrast to the latter, instead of achieving this effect through the
vivid portrayal of technology with engineering exactitude, it does it
by showing almost no technology whatsoever. Rather scenes of the
completely anodyne. The "astronauts" wear business suits and work in an
2. It creates a sense of timelessness by using almost featureless sets reminiscent of a classical play and paraphernalia re-cycled from other times ( such as the cars and the back-projection displays ). The feel of the film is in a very positive way reminiscent of Alphaville.
3. It employs completely impractical technical devices in such an effective theatrical way as to render their impracticality irrelevant. For example, it is possible to identify someone by a genetic "fingerprint" generated from a hair follicle ( but not in itself a hair ) or skin, but such traces would not facilitate a break-down of the persons genetic character, as pretended here. These are two different orders of measurement. Indeed, urine, which features centrally in the plot, is of no use on either account, not being a body tissue in any case. Only the blood tests would facilitate both identification and genetic analysis as shown in the story. Yet, in spite of knowing these things, the use of such devices as a plucked hair in the story is made so poetically as to become effectively a perfect metaphor and so beyond criticism on grounds of mere realism. To me, this seems almost unique. To do the wrong, obviously, yet aptly.
4. The plot is so contrived as to convene three parallel stories into convergence: Vincents story, of course. But also the directors story, which is oddly similar ( his life's ambition in the flight of the mission can only be fulfilled by killing the man who would have axed it ). As is that of the son of the biologist mentioned at the end.
5. The movie actually achieves what most dramatic art strives for but fails to do: the story resonates far beyond the limited scope of the dramatic enactment. Vincents dream and the challenges posed by society's prejudices is a story that is eternal and universal. As are other issues brought up: sibling rivalry, the "straight" way to a mediocre life as against the "crooked" yet heroic path toward a greater truth. Most profound is the way in which the paralysed Jerome actually becomes an immortal, historical space-farer Vincent, destroying his mortal self to do so, leaving as his legacy the realisations by the other man of his dreams. This is both incredibly ingenious and thought provoking, creating a mood that lingers long after the credits roll. I doubt that vicariousness has ever before been made so realistic a possibility.
The atmosphere, mood and languid tempo yet with a sense of inevitability is greatly aided by Michael Nyman's score.
This is one of the very few movies in which a narrator is entirely apt and not a mere convenience.
"Gattaca" (1997 - 112 minutes) is one of the best scientific fiction movies of the 90 years. Deep, overwhelming and controversial, it was written and directed by Andrew Niccol. Gattaca, the name of a specific DNA strain sequence of the human body, is also the denomination of a space trip megacorporation. The society described in the narrative adopts the genetic manipulation to improve the attributes of each human being. In fact, the people are classified as "valids" [or perfect conceived in laboratory] and "invalids" [conceived by the natural method]. Vincent Freeman [the actor Ethan Hawke] is one of "invalids" having to support his stigma of birth, beyond other imperfections. He has an illness that limits his life to 30 years - in contrast to his younger brother, Anton [Loren Dean], that was designed genetically and is a member of the elite. But Vincent did not accept his destiny. He aims for changing his life and fulfill his dreams, traveling to other planets. To qualify himself as a space pilot, the young one would have to be "perfect" or "valid". As in that society the identity of someone was not confirmed by documents but by their genes, Vincent perceives that he has to turn himself into another person to obtain what he wants. Through a DNA trader, he knows Jerome Eugene Morrow [the actor Jude Law], a superior being that was paralyzed in an accident and was excluded from the society. Using samples of blood, hair, skin and urine of Jerome, Vincent assumes his identity, becoming a navigator. Vincent also falls in love for the pretty Irene [the actress Uma Thurman], his colleague in Gattaca, that does not know his true identity. One week before the space mission, a murder in Gattaca starts an inquiry led for Anton, that is a policeman. Vincent is in a great danger to be discovered. The main message of the film is that there is no genes for the spirit. Extraordinary.
How this movie is not in the top 250 is beyond belief. This was an
amazing movie with wonderful acting, not to mention a wonderful story.
Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman deserve more credit for their roles played
in this movie, as does Jude Law. But how can anyone ignore the story, I
truly believe this to be a warning for the "Not to Distant Future."
Genetic discrimination is truly possible, or, I should say, will be possible within all of our futures. Science is making progress by leaps and bounds, and is doing so at an ever rapid pace. To ignore the warning set forth in this movie would be a travesty.
If you listen closely to the news you can hear the progress, every day, "Science Advances Again," "New Cloning Procedure Tested." These are the headlines of science, buried deep within the newspapers of America, where, by the way, all the interesting news lies.
The sheer tactfulness of how this movie analyzes the future is classy, the colors of the movie are well balanced with the seriousness of the movies tone, and only add more to a movie that seems to have it all. The suits, hair styles and modernistic architecture also add to the movie's brilliance and tone.
This is a clever movie, "GATTACA" as everyone reading this probably knows, is a combination of the first letters of the four amino acids in DNA, as any introductory biology class would teach you, which is also why they show this movie in most Biology classes across America, and it is also where I first saw it.
I can only give my highest rating for GATTACA, it is a great movie, and watching it over and over again only adds to the experience. My official rating is 8.4/10.
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